Harvard Summer Program in Hong Kong

June 1, 2019 to July 28, 2019
Apply by: 
January 31, 2019
  • Hong Kong - cityscape
  • Hong Kong - boat on water
  • Hong Kong - statues
  • Hong Kong - city view

Explore the past and present of China’s global interactions in its most vibrant and international city.

China is one of the most important actors in 21st-century global affairs. This program offers you the opportunity to investigate China’s current social and economic connections with different world areas, learn about its historical engagement with the U.S., and consider the effects of these historical and sociological forces on China’s culture and future development. You will study these themes alongside students from Hong Kong Baptist University through interactive course discussions, site visits in Hong Kong to NGOs and museums, and field trips across the border to mainland China and Macao. Experience the incomparable possibilities of this world-class Chinese city, with its rich history, lush and extensive natural landscapes, and exciting urban life.

Program structure

You will take two courses, each an intensive 4-week exploration of a different aspect of China’s global interactions, past and present. The first course focuses on China’s interconnection with global migration patterns; the second examines the history of China’s interaction with the U.S. from the 19th century to the present. Combined, the two courses balance learning from different social science perspectives about China and the world, along with how Hong Kong plays a central role in these global processes and why they matter for China’s future. Learning will take place both inside and outside the classroom and include frequent field trips to areas of cultural, historical, and sociological interest throughout Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta.


EALC S-38 and HIST S-1827 count as two semester-long courses (4 credits each) of degree credit.

EALC S-38 Study Abroad in Hong Kong: Migration and Globalization—Perspectives from Hong Kong (34507)

Nicole DeJong Newendorp
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

This course uses Hong Kong's distinctive regional location in Southeast China and recent postcolonial status as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China as a laboratory for examining the role that migration plays in China's relationship to the wider world, and how and why this matters for understanding key trends in Chinese social development today.

Through its previous colonial status as part of the British Empire and its contemporary role as a global hub of international finance, Hong Kong has been at the center of China's engagement with global processes of development and modernization for over a century. Students learn about how migration to and from Hong Kong is central to these processes and has contributed to the historical, sociological, and political forces that have created this dynamic Chinese city while also influencing China's contemporary social and economic development. Each week, we focus on a different group of migrants in Hong Kong to use as a case study for understanding key trends in contemporary Chinese society—including economic inequality, family dynamics, social mobility, and education—in both Hong Kong and China. We also pay particular attention to how these migratory trends share much in common with patterns of migration around the world. Our investigation of these themes extends beyond the classroom to include multiple site visits in and around Hong Kong and Southeast China, including to NGOs, factories, and the border itself.

HIST S-1827 Study Abroad in Hong Kong: The United States and China—Opium War to Present (34510)

Erez Manela
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

The relationship between China and the United States is now, and will likely continue to be, among the most important international relationships of our era. But this relationship has a long history, a history which we must study if we wish to understand present and future challenges and opportunities more fully. In this course, students explore diverse aspects of the history of Sino-American relations since the early nineteenth century. We cover major episodes such as the Boxer intervention, the first and second world wars, the Korean War, the Mao-Nixon rapprochement, and the post-Mao relationship. We also examine central themes such as trade, migration, cultural perceptions, war, and revolution.

Where you live and study

Formerly a British colony, Hong Kong was returned to mainland Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997. Located in Southeast China at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong grew from a small, rural Chinese outpost into a densely urban, international financial capital over the course of the 20th century. Today, it is home to 8 million residents, attracts visitors from all around the world, and has a unique culture that combines both Chinese and international identities.


You will share double rooms in the Hong Kong Baptist University undergraduate dormitories, located just a few minutes’ walk from Hong Kong’s efficient subway system that connects you to all other parts of the city. Meals will be available through the HKBU cafeteria, but Hong Kong also has extensive opportunities for eating delicious food at every turn—which you’ll have the opportunity to explore alongside your classmates and teachers throughout the program.


Early application is strongly encouraged. Each program has unique requirements included in the online application. Beginning your application early is the best way to ensure that you have sufficient time to review and complete the application requirements by the deadline.

A complete online application includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • A statement of interest
  • Your most recent transcript
  • Program-specific requirements (if applicable; may include letters of recommendation, audio or video submissions, etc.)
  • A $75 application fee (per program)

Interviews may be requested at the discretion of the program.

The summer 2019 application period is now closed. Harvard College students applying for funding from the Office of Career Services (OCS): Please note that the OCS funding application is separate.

If you have questions about the application, please contact the Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Office by email at summerabroad@summer.harvard.edu, or by telephone at (617) 998-9602.

Cost & Expenses

The program fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Accommodations
  • Scheduled program activities
  • Some meals (the program will provide further details)

You will also need to budget for a number of expenses not covered by the program fee. The amounts listed below for these out-of-pocket expenses are approximate, and you may incur additional expenses not noted here. Your actual expenses will depend on a number of factors, including personal spending habits and currency exchange rates.

  • International airfare ($1,600 - $2,000)
  • Ground transportation ($150)
  • Meals ($750)
  • Personal expenditures, communications, course materials, and miscellaneous ($500)

If you have specific questions about personal budgeting, please contact the program directly.

See Funding and Payment for information on how to submit payments and funding options.

Additional information

Program director

Nicole Newendorp


  • Erez Manela, PhD, Professor of History, Harvard University
  • Nicole DeJong Newendorp, PhD, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies and Lecturer, Social Studies, Harvard University